TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host two public meetings this month as well as a webinar to gather input on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s Path Forward document and Florida’s projects to be submitted to the Council for consideration.
A webinar will be held at noon EST Feb. 26. Public meetings will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 28 at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City and 6 to 9 p.m. March 13 at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.
The Department, along with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, will be presenting information on the state’s five priority areas for projects and will seek input on projects the public would like submitted to the Council for consideration for inclusion in the initial Comprehensive Plan.
The RESTORE Act, which was passed by Congress on June 29, 2012 and signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012, created the Council and established several funding categories for the Clean Water Act civil and administrative penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010. The Council is required, after notice and opportunity for public comment, to publish an initial Comprehensive Plan by July 6, 2013. The Path Forward document, which was released by the Council on Jan. 29, describes how the Council will build on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force’s work and articulates the Council’s plan to collaboratively develop the initial Comprehensive Plan.
The public may provide comments on the Path Forward document by email to RestoreCouncil@doc.gov. In order to participate in the webinar, participants must register at, https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/727220354, by Feb. 25.
The meetings will take place:
Tuesday, Feb. 26
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST
Panama City Meeting:
Thursday, Feb. 28
Gulf Coast State College
5230 W. U.S. 98
6:00 p.m. CST Open House
7:00 – 9:00 p.m. CST Meeting & Public Comment